LETTER in West Sussex Gazette: Politicians are not listening to voters on Gatwick 2nd runway threat
In July 2013, West Sussex County Council, in a rushed and questionably democratic vote, gave its support for a 2nd runway at Gatwick. This is despite having commissioned a study in 2013 that showed somewhere between 30,000 and 45,000 new houses would need to be built in the area, and other serious local problems. The Chair of CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions), writing in the local press, has emphasised how the opinions of the thousands who have been alerted to the new runway threat, need to be taken account of by local politicians and councillors. Horsham Council is Conservative controlled, with 7 Lib Dem councillors. However, the leader of the Horsham LibDems, Frances Haigh, has backed a 2nd Gatwick runway, even though that was voted against at the recent party conference. There are very real fears about implications of a 2nd runway, on housing, transport, pressure on all social services and infrastructure – and councillors would do well to take account of these views, with some district elections next year.
LETTER: Politicians are not listening to voters
26 October 2014 (West Sussex Gazette)
From Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions
Did you know last week your councillors (West Sussex County Council) were presented to by Alistair McDermid of Gatwick Airport and Rosemary French of Gatwick Diamond?
Thank goodness Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) also spoke and countering the spin from Gatwick and the eight-page document read out by Gatwick Diamond!
With reference to the thoughts of Cllr Frances Haigh, LibDem, detailed in the County Times last week, I make the following points.
During the recent Liberal Democrat conference Gatwick Airport were openly criticised for their expensive lobbying.
Gatwick were very busy during party conferences, Labour gave the CEO of Gatwick a platform nearly every day to sell spin; the Conservatives were bombarded by advertisements on political websites as well as all Gatwick senior management being present throughout to lobby.
The LibDem conference voted to keep policy to oppose building a new runway in the SouthEast and yet Horsham LibDems announced they will vote against national policy.
Surrey LibDems see the problems with expanding Gatwick and spoke strongly against Frances Haigh at the LibDem Conference, as did many other councillors, because they know what it will mean to our area and our quality of life.
Who can we trust when local representatives do not conform to what is democratically voted on by a national political party?
Perhaps this decision is too important to be left to WSCC *West Sussex County Council) and HDC (Horsham District Council) councillors and perhaps a referendum should be conducted as to whether we residents want to support Gatwick’s desire to urbanise our rural towns, villages and parishes of West Sussex?
It would seem from Ms Haigh’s pieces that HDC LibDems are to support an offshore company that will have sold in 2018, before any Gatwick tarmac is laid .
We, on the other hand, will be left with the fallout of an inward migration of workers, all looking for affordable houses, using our roads, rail, hospitals, GPs and schools. Workers that will change the job market in this area as they, and their families, look for work.
Employers in our area already see Gatwick as a drain on quality staff and this huge influx will change salary structures and could well force companies to relocate. Gatwick, itself, had staffing problems and had to bus in staff from Southampton during the luggage fiasco, and airlines’ UK based food suppliers already advertise jobs in Portugal for catering staff.
Frances Haigh represents Horsham Park; well ADNID (Gatwick’s new flight path) gave Horsham North residents aircraft noise impact so Wizard (another flight path route) should be a major concern for Horsham!
There is thinking that as urban areas have a daily decibel noise of about 70 plus that an aircraft above would not really be noticed by residents, so instead of victimising all those that chose tranquillity, to live in rural parishes around Horsham, planes should fly over Horsham.
What about emissions and pollution from road and air? The South-East recently faced high pollution levels, during a particular weather pattern. What will adding an airport with 96 million passengers (Heathrow 72.3 million last year) joined by 122,000 inward migrating workers, do to traffic on the roads, adding to our pollution levels as well as emissions from aircraft overhead?
What about national policy that the Climate Change Act cannot be ignored and that a new runway in the South-East would mean regional airports would have to reduce capacity, potentially increasing unemployment in other regions? See a recent report
http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/wwf_regional_airports_report1.pdf for more details on that.
A new runway at Gatwick will bring economic gridlock to the South-East; the South-East that finances all those unemployed in the North as the South-East comes to a pollution, overcrowded standstill.
The Airports Commission was given the job of finding a location for a new runway in the South-East. It was not asked to look at the national framework of spare capacity at Luton and Stansted nor will Sir Howard Davies look at the widening divide between North / South divide; that is not in his brief.
Sir Howard Davies will receive his peerage and be gone, similar to the executives at Gatwick Airport who are spending so much time and money trying to convince our councillors to support their plans.
Next year is election time for MPs and councillors, so residents will have a chance to express their views. Obviously some party members are not yet listening to us voters.
Residents should contact councillors now as HDC and WSCC will respond to the Airport Commission consultation this autumn!
Chair, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), Mayes Lane, Warnham
The next West Sussex County Council elections will take place in May 2017
Many district councils have elections for one third of their members each year.
Horsham election details at http://www.horsham.gov.uk/electionspages/elections/forthcoming-elections
West Sussex County Council gives its backing to 2nd runway plan for Gatwick
The leader of of West Sussex County Council, Mrs Louise Goldman, has welcomed the principle of creating a 2nd Gatwick runway and full airport expansion. This is nearly 35 years after the local authority signed a legal agreement restricting the airport to one runway. She said the county could not be preserved in aspic; and if it was to continue to provide quality jobs for its young people as well as take seriously its responsibilities to an ageing population, it had to make economic growth a priority. Somehow she manages to square that with saying she does did not mean abandoning the environment. “Quite the reverse. I have always considered myself to be an environmentalist, and protecting everything that makes West Sussex a unique place of beauty in which to live, work, and visit, remains enormously important.” And she has the naive hope that “ensuring that we mitigate environmental concerns as much as we possibly can,” will get over environmental problems. Her forthright and unequivocal statement came as Gatwick Airport will submit its planning proposals for expansion on 23rd July.
Study finds a 2nd Gatwick runway could require 40,000 new houses – a town the size of Crawley
A study by independent consultants jointly commissioned by the West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond business association has found that the total number of houses in Crawley at present is around 40,000, and some 30,000 – 45,000 new houses would be needed if a new runway is built at Gatwick. The study predicts that the number of jobs created by a new runway plus the number of jobs created in firms attracted to the area by doubling the size of Gatwick would be far in excess of any available labour. That would require a substantial influx of workers from other parts of the UK or from the EU. Local councils, which are already struggling to find sites for the current demand for housing – without Gatwick expansion. Councils would need to decide whether to build a whole new town or whether to add hundreds of new houses to every town and village – perhaps a thousand houses added to forty villages! A new runway would lead to widespread urbanisation of parts of rural Sussex and Surrey, and the “dream” could turn into a nightmare.
Gatwick’s runway plans would mean labour shortage, considerable local house building and traffic congestion
If Heathrow or Gatwick got permission to build a new runway, both would struggle to find enough workers locally. Both are in areas of high employment. Workers would have to either be drawn in from elsewhere, commuting in each day – or a lot of extra housing would have to be built to house them. Both areas already have substantial problems in providing sufficient housing, even at present. More jobs are needed outside the south east. Gatwick claims 122,000 new jobs would be created by a new runway, with 22,000 in the immediate vicinity of the airport. The airport’s labour shortage was underlined this summer when delays at baggage reclaim forced Gatwick to bus in extra staff from Southampton. Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, said the shortage was a “deal breaker” and “Gatwick are proposing an airport busier than Heathrow….which has 43,100 more people on-site today. Therefore the on-site job forecast is probably an underestimate by a factor of two. Gatwick can’t man this airport without a massive increase in local house building.” A study by independent consultants jointly commissioned by the West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond, in early 2013, found that 30,000 – 45,000 new houses would be needed if Gatwick got a 2nd runway.